How I Started to See the Light on Rape Culture

Ben Hughes wonders if there ought to be an App for “Misogynists Around Me.”

I have a knee-jerk defensive response to the term rape culture. It feels accusatory. It feels like the intent is to say that “all men are rapists”. I think I’ve had it all wrong.

Even living under my news rock it was hard to miss the controversy about Girls Around Me:

“It’s not, really, that we’re all horrified by what this app does, is it? […] It’s that we’re all horrified by how exposed these girls are, and how exposed services like Facebook and Foursquare let them be without their knowledge.” – Cult of Mac

Actually, that’s not what horrifies me. Some people are misogynistic creeps, and some of those creeps are app developers who will use data in unintended ways. That doesn’t make me happy, but it doesn’t particularly worry me. What horrifies me is that the focus on “women being exposed” perpetuates the predator/victim dynamic between men and women. It is victim blaming (don’t want to be hunted by sexual predators? Better not share your location!) and it takes as given that men are inherently dangerous.

Instead of the privacy of women’s location data, we should be talking about why that data being shared is “dangerous”. In our attempt to “protect” women I think we are unintentionally normalising and spreading the myth (please God, let it be a myth) that men are sex-obsessed beasts ruled by their cocks, who don’t much care who they fuck. That we are obsessed with impressing and obtaining women while simultaneously hating them. And of course that women and helpless victims who need saving (except when they’re treacherously plotting to steal our manhood).

I’m a guy trying to raise 3 boys into decent, humane men. I want them to grow up being conscious of how they treat other people, especially sexually, but without carrying the baggage of being “potential rapists”. I don’t want them to think of women as “potential victims” in any sense.

We teach boys that they are dangerous. We joke about men being ruled by their dicks. We normalise and excuse attitudes that are eerily similar to those held by rapists. We unquestionably accept that Girls Around Me will be used by leacherous men to hunt women.

This is rape culture. While I still despise the term, I don’t think I can dismiss the concept any more. And honestly, that makes me pretty sad.

Of course, all of this is from the perspective of a 30-something white guy. For a different (but I think complementary) perspective, check out Rosie Ryan’s post.

Originally posted on Ben Hughe’s blog with the title ‘Misogynists Around Me

photo: Cult of Mac via The Blaze

About Ben Hughes

Ben Hughes is a 30-something Australian programmer, amateur photographer, audio geek, closet economist and dad to three boys.


  1. Wilhelmina de Jong says:

    “We unquestionably accept that Girls Around Me will be used by leacherous men to hunt women.”
    So who is using the app then? Doesn’t such an app, that allows you to search for girls in your area, reduce women to the state of being a commodity that can be looked up and is freely available?
    This is like implying an app that searches for McDonalds around you is not used by people who like to eat burgers.

    Don’t get me wrong, I also dislike that men are often portrayed as sexual predators who cannot control themselves but on the issue of this app, the author’s totally missed it by a hundred miles.

    • Does it have to mean they are a commodity though? Do dating sites turn people into commodities? I have serious issues with people labeling stuff so negatively like that, the app is questionable but why do you see it as turning women into a commodity? Did you ever consider it could just be to find and meet women, a lame attempt at dating in the 21st century?

      Seeing everything so negatively simply adds to the culture that portrays men as sexual predators because their actions are so often seen as such. Take this app for example, some folk see it as part of the rape toolkit yet it could also be seen as a localized dating site. It has quite a bit of potential actually if it were opt-in with profiles, age range filtering, where you could see their profile and if you both agree turn on the “Bob is at bar 54”. Though it’s not really needed if you communicate via email/messaging first.

      Anyway the app can be seen in a negative or positive light depending on what you think about it, I see it as questionable but not outright negative, even more questionable though is the title being a single gender. The other positive is that it might teach people to lock down their profiles more so they don’t share info without realizing. Better to be a silly app that tells the world vs some crime later on that people find out the attacker used public info to find the victims. It’d be good as a school safety app to let the students know to lock down their profile as well (with a different title/etc of course).

      • Wilhelmina de Jong says:

        “Did you ever consider it could just be to find and meet women, a lame attempt at dating in the 21st century?”
        No, not at all. That is probably the result that women are constantly portrayed as commodities, cause half naked, lucious, available women will sell any product. When I see this app, I do feel reduced to a commodity. One that, just like a restaurant, can be looked up and approached.
        That I feel that way is the result of how I see myself (or women) being portrayed in the media.

        If the app equally shows men and women, then I’d just brush it off as a dating tool and wouldn’t have a problem with it. Of if there is an app that is equally promoted calld “boys in my neighbourhood” I’d be fine with that.

        An indeed, I hope this teaches people about putting all their information online and I also think to say it’s a rape toolkit is totally exagerated. That man prey the neighbourhood and drag random girls in the bushes is a myth, as far as I know and you’re more likely to be raped by someone you know.

        • Pretty sure this app searched for men as well, the women part was just a “catching title”. Wouldn’t be hard to search by gender from the data I’m sure. But I can see your point on the other stuff, probably why the app makes me wonder wtf they were thinking, something seems iffy about it.

  2. So another social networking site, Badoo, launched in America last month (its been a big hit in Europe for a while now).

    I don’t know the specifics on it yet (I went to the Badoo’s site and you pretty much can’t do or see anything without signing up or at least letting them look through your contact lists to see who among your contacts is already on it) but I just wonder if this will cause a similar stir.

  3. wellokaythen says:

    “Instead of the privacy of women’s location data, we should be talking about why that data being shared is “dangerous”.”

    Yes, but this question is going in the wrong direction. To my mind, there is an even bigger question. Why are so many people of ALL genders so cavalier about giving location information to the entire world? How could anyone NOT think of the security problems involved with giving social networks your location and a photo of yourself? Good grief. There doesn’t need to be any paranoia about insatiable male rapists. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    It doesn’t matter how rare or how common male attackers are, ultimately. Even if rapists make up .01 percent of the male population, we’re talking about putting the information easily at the fingertips of billions of people. Billions. Rape culture could be a total myth. Burglary, stalking, and fraud are not myths.

    App designers may have no nasty motives at all. They may not be motivated by any sexist assumptions whatsoever. That STILL doesn’t mean they have your best interests at heart. Think critically, people.

    Let’s have an even bigger, even more important conversation about why we’re encouraged to tell the entire world everything about ourselves. Don’t be totally paranoid, but let’s not be totally gullible either.

    • Wirbelwind says:

      Why would they ? Because most people are too lazy to read what they sign.
      A few years ago there was a huge campaign about risks of posting sensitive information (like hey, I am rich and live here, we are going on a looong trip, our children are attending that elementary school and since they have only a 10 min walk back home nobody picks them up) and people still do things like this, no, it’s even worse !
      I don’t know if number of burglaries or kidnappings for ransom increased, but giving away info about EVERYTHING, from your address to what you ate yesterday and with whom is cerainly making criminals’ lives easier.

  4. What I’m disturbed by is this quotes thing. No. I cannot tell the difference between the mag’s and rapist’s quotes. I know not all lad mags are like this (I wouldn’t say Playboy is), but to think there is a lad mag out there like this selling well enough to still remain on the shelves is harrowing.

  5. Carl Mode says:

    Ignorance sure is bliss.

    I think every poster in the thread should spend a week in a courthouse and see how society (with its laws) treats rape and sexual assault and how it treats victims of other crimes such as common assault. I think you would be shocked. Get away from activist websites who claim “women are never believed” or “women are victimized again” , or the absolutely laughable one “women are blamed”. This isn’t reality folks, does it happen every once in a while , sure it does BUT the vast majority of rape and sexual assault cases are highly prosecuted , have some of the highest conviction rates and some of the longest sentence. Of course the MsM only reports those outside the norm.

    Speaking of conviction rates: Did you know most activist websites and media outlets like to claim a 6% conviction rate for sexual assault and rape. I looked into that some time ago and found it where they came up with that number. I shocked me (though it shouldn’t have) that they use the actual conviction rate (approx 60%) and then divided it by 10 because of the belief that only 1 in 10 rapes is reported. Of course what they don’t tell you is that when the compare it to other crimes , they don’t make an assumption about how many of those other crimes don’t get reported. WOW, just WOW

    • Copyleft says:

      You’re correct. In the real-world justice system, the presumption is overwhelmingly in favor of the accuser when it comes to rape crimes–or, as they are more often called, ‘the victim.’ Because anyone who files rape charges is a capital-V Victim and automatically deserves to be believed. And the accused is automatically a monster unless he (and in cases, it more often is a he) can prove otherwise.

      Who cares that this runs counter to the core principle of our justice system, i.e., “innocent until proven guilty”? What matters is that alleged sex offenders be punished, and plaintiff-victims always be believed, whether they’re able to prove their case or not. It’s a sick system, especially compared to the neighboring violent-crime cases, which ARE generally handled in the “prove guilt” mode.

      It’s almost like sex crimes warrant a reversal of the usual model of justice. I wonder what’s behind that, and whether the constant drumbeat of ‘rape culture, rape culture’ helps drive that unjust and immoral shift?

  6. John Anderson says:

    I thought that the purpose of providing your location was for your friends to find you in case they were in the area you’d have a chance to meet up.

    • Wirbelwind says:

      Friends already now where I live. I have no interest in having surprise visits with people I haven’t spoken to in years and who barely know me…

  7. Here is a paper on the legal objectives behind rape culture activism.

    • Wilhelmina de Jong says:

      Oh dear, look at the source:! If you want to be credible, find something that is less ideological and biased and even more important, find a source where the writers get their facts right. Those guys from seem to be so far out of touch with reality, it’s as if they live on different planet.
      There are some true gems on the site
      “Between the pill and abortion, women have complete control over the reproductive process.”
      Sure. Pills, abortion. all freely available to anyone, everywhere at anytime. Wow. Talk about distorting facts.
      or this
      “the rights and freedoms of men have been downgraded to the point that they are now considered a second class citizen”
      or another gem
      “The unforeseen consequence that resulted is the breakup of the American family, and children who no longer receive the guidance and love of their fathers.”
      That is language which implies that if women just stopped divorcing their men and the American family aka traditional roles aka man at work and woman at home would be honored, everything would be fine.

      It’s all fine to point out that men are disadvantage when it comes to child custody and that we must do something about the large number of imprisoned men or create awareness that women abuse too. But is extremely dogmatic and sounds like a bunch of whiny, privileged men who can’t accept that they have competitor now who fight on an equal level instead of being nicely, quiet and subordinate; cooking their dinner at night, breeding their babies and looking up to their guidance.

  8. QuantumInc says:

    Unfortunately there is so precise definition of “rape culture”. But I think a big part of it is blurring the lines between consensual sex and non-consensual. Talking about what you and your lover want out of love-making prior to the actual lovemaking is not seen as very romantic. Men are supposed to dominate the women they want. Sometimes women will expect men to “just know” what they want. On people discussed asking before you kiss, almost everyone was against asking. Some men believe that asking about sex will scare women off, even I get that feeling. I know consciously that it is the better option but feel to afraid to actually bring it up ever.

    I find it unfortunate that in articles exploring specific examples in our culture of certain cultural factors (i.e a google app and “rape culture”) some people always respond “So and so can’t change people, a single so and so doesn’t mean anything!” Except it isn’t just so and so. There are lots of other things indicating the presence of rape culture. Maybe you’re lucky and never encountered any of the other examples, but more likely you heard of it, but never thought of it that way. I’m tempted to make a list of such examples for all of the cultural institutions I hate, though without substantial explanation for each entry they’ll be easy to dismiss or argue against. Also I’ve got math tests to worry about right now.

    • “Unfortunately there is so precise definition of “rape culture.”

      Correct. It is whatever the person who believes in it says it is, no different than burglery or car jacking culture. That it exists in one person’s mind doesn’t mean it actually does exist.

      However, I understand why it exists in the mind of many. Properly, they care about women, what happens to them matters. That’s the right way to feel, IMO. So they focus on it mentally and anything that reminds them of it is part of what they consider to be the culture. I get that. I am surrounded by ladies in my own family and care deeply for their safety and work to ensure it.

      To illustrate that what we believe to be a “culture” is determined by what and WHO we do and don’t care about:

      What if the murder rate of white women suddenly increased by 500% nationwide? What would the reaction be? There would be a sudden, dramatic, and urgent shift in attention and call to action. Activist groups would mobilze, press conferences would be called, 800#s, websites, blogs, congressional hearings, presidential speecheds, funding would allocated even with an insolvent government, increased police and judicial focus, declaratons of a war on women would be heard on the news daily, declarations by the same “rape culture” activists of a “war on women” and “murder of women culture.” It would be a national call to action to end this “culture.”

      Why? Because of care. Concern. Appropriately so.

      So, why is it that black boys and men are murdered at that 500% higher rate every day of every year and none of that takes place? Each and every day the response is silence and indifference.

      I use this to illustrate how our impressions of events and what is a “culture” is determined by what and who we DO and DON’T care about. So, why the talk of rape culture so often but not muder of black boys’ culture, for example? Because of what and who we do and don’t care about.

      If our society acted as if it cared, perhaps things would improve for these kids. It’s worth a shot.

  9. Eagle34 says:

    I’m hoping that someone can look at how male victims of female sexual abuse aren’t believed or ostracized by society (that includes by men AND women by the way) and how this is also “Rape Culture” at work as well.

    • jackiesmith890 says:

      amazing. this entire article rightfully acknowledges the problem with male behavior and rape culture (in which the VAST MAJORITY of victims are female) and the only response you can think of is to cry about male victims of female abusers (who are the extreme minority).

      when women think of an app called “boys around me” and start abusing males by the millions, then you might have a point. but that will never happen. we aren’t like that.

      (edited) This is a perfect example of what the author is talking about. thanks for proving him correct. (edited)

      Moderator’s Note-do not make attacks on other posters, the author or the site, please.

      • Jackiesmith


        “(in which the VAST MAJORITY of victims are female) and the only response you can think of is to cry about male victims of female abusers (who are the extreme minority).”

        is total nonsense and a great example of how radical feminism is the real rape culture.

      • amazing. this entire article rightfully acknowledges the problem with male behavior and rape culture (in which the VAST MAJORITY of victims are female) and the only response you can think of is to cry about male victims of female abusers (who are the extreme minority).

        when women think of an app called “boys around me” and start abusing males by the millions, then you might have a point. but that will never happen. we aren’t like that.
        And you just proved Eoghan’s point.

        Supposedly rape culture is about how ALL rape victims and how the way out culture seems to be conductive to their violation and extending that violation by robbing them of justice. Nothing in there about gender but when Eoghan spoke up about victims of female abusers you went straight to yelling about how “women have it worse” and then try to set a bar for victims of female abusers in order for them to count.

        So how about this for a bar? When female victims are told that their stories don’t matter BECAUASE THEY ARE FEMALE (there are plenty who argue that only certain women deserve to be believed but few that actually say that a woman should not be believed because she is a woman) then maybe there will be due cause for concern.

        And speaking of a “boys all around me” app. If I’m not mistaken the app in question actually allow for searching out boys as well didn’t?

      • Jackiesmith890, I would love to rebute your opinion in a civilized, polite manner but these two paragraphs here:

        “amazing. this entire article rightfully acknowledges the problem with male behavior and rape culture (in which the VAST MAJORITY of victims are female) and the only response you can think of is to cry about male victims of female abusers (who are the extreme minority).”

        “when women think of an app called “boys around me” and start abusing males by the millions, then you might have a point. but that will never happen. we aren’t like that. ”

        Just proves you don’t deserve any common courtesy and have therefore revoked any chance of me treating you like a human being.

        So I’m going to give it to you straight:

        Those two paragraphs have also outed you as compliant for, and supportive of, boy and men sexual and physical abuse from females. You also, like many bigots, have erased my own experiences of being hurt as well by women and girls. Congratulations.

        I have nothing more to say to you. You brought this on yourself.

      • Peter Houlihan says:

        “we aren’t like that.”

        Zip up, your sexism is showing. You’ve just grouped all men into the “sexual predator” box and all women into the “pure as driven snow” box.

        People who try to establish the moral superiority of womanhood are directly attacking a core assumption of feminism: that gender doesn’t determine a persons character and biology isn’t destiny. Your comment belongs right beside all those people you’ve ever heard claim that men are naturally more suited to the workplace.

        Not to mention that you’re wrong, some of you are like that, just as some men are.

  10. Thanks, Ben, for such a great summary on one aspect of “rape culture,” and how it impacts men negatively as well. Rather than viewing “all men as potential rapists” and all “women as victims,” it is more empowering to recognize that there are a great deal of cultural factors that support violence and mistreatment of people to to learn ways to speak out against it. No, not all men are potential perpetrators, AND, how can all men be empowered to say something to a friend who uses such an app or who says things that are objectifying. To collude in silence can serve to normalize the idea that “well, that’s just how men are,” when in reality, most of us are not this way at all. This idea is damaging to men as well as it is to women, as you so nicely pointed out. The more we speak out against such awful behavior and cultural messages, the less acceptable it will be to see others as objects to be used/mistreated. And I’m talking both ways, not just men to women–we ALL do this in different ways, both to our own genders and well as the opposite. Let’s stop making this an “us-them” issue and make it an “everybody” issue. Thanks for writing this. As a violence prevention educator, it’s nice to see others’ “ah-ha moments.”

  11. Any man that wants to live in a society where he has the basic presumption of innocence should not be talking up the radical feminist rape culture ideology.

    The legal end of it, involves changing the legal system and removing protections against false accusations

    • Transhuman says:

      When a man is accused of rape, there is the presumption of guilt by the media. There should be a rape accused shield law for men, so they are not named unless convicted, as well as prosecution of false accusers with their names published.

  12. Eric M. says:

    Good gravy.

    I rest my case.

  13. Wirbelwind says:

    This is how feminists see men, rape culture and stuff like this :

    See the title ? Read the comments, they are delicious.

    • Actually the comments are horrifying, but I assume you are employing sarcasm. Rape is a horrible thing no matter who it happens to, and it happens to every gender by every gender it appears. We shouldn’t support violence back against violence and I feel much more accurate in saying, those comments are horrifying.

      • Wirbelwind says:

        Glad to see the art of recognizing sarcasm isn’t dead and yes, I agree. Crime is crime, rape is rape and punishment is punishment.

  14. Wirbelwind says:

    Why anyone would post their photo and location on the Internet ? I don’t understand purpose of applications like this or Facebook… really, people who are posting on FB are giving out more info than UB or SB (our former “security”, like KGB) was interested in.
    You don’t post your info for the same reason you ain’t posting a photo of yourself and two kids in front of an expensive car in front of your nice, big house. You don’t want to make a thief’s job any easier, do you ?

    • “You don’t want to make a thief’s job any easier, do you ?”

      Add to that the folks who advertise they are not home by announcing a month long vacation – posting holiday snaps online as they take them …. and still have the Pictures which show their now Empty Home – their Car parked and waiting ….. Their House Number and Home in full view to be scoped out via Street View!

      It’s called Data Leakage!

      Better still they have their real names on-line and it’s so easy to use free on-line services to find out the address, pay a visit and even let them know before they get home!

      One hell of a nice surprise in the middle of your Foreign Vacation! …. and It happen! Some criminals are so polite in giving you report of what they have been upto!

  15. Take note Ben, the radical feminist version of rape culture, which is what we are talking about here, excludes and does not want to talk about female sex criminals so, by its on definitions of what a rape culture is, its a rape culture.

  16. I think all this app proves is that we need to educate young people (both men and women) about the negative consequences of making all kinds of their personal data publicly available on Facebook and other media, so they make an informed decision. There are always a few bad people out there. They are the minority but you have to take them into account. You have to learn to walk a line between being appropriately cautious and being paranoid.

    Once someone is past the young and naive stage, they should know better. Broadcasting your location AND photo to strangers is just dumb.

    • This, a thousand times. The internet is the street, even when you are sitting in your own bedroom. When you throw your privacy away, you have only yourself to blame.

    • Exactly.

    • Sarah

      Literacy in personal security and I.T. related areas is not age related. I can give you chapter and verse on failures from the cradle to the grave – children, parents, grand parents – pensioners. It is not just an issue for the young.

      I’ve even seen I.T. security managers lecture employees in some very large companies all about the issues – and yet prove the old adage of “Do As I Say, Not As I Do!”.

      In the same vein it is not just an issue related to sex, gender, race, socio-economic status, disability and many other ways of defining people.

      So again, I have to wonder how the Macro Issue of personal security and I.T. gets automatically reduced to being only about one age group and one sex – The Micro Issue?

      I see that the App has been pulled – but the actual issue of Personal Security and I.T. is not actually being addressed – only politicised inappropriately around one group!

      • You are correct, people of all ages and genders are careless with their online privacy. I’m willing to cut teens/young adults some slack if they don’t fully understand the consequences. That is, I won’t call them dumb, I’ll just say naive. But once you have some life experience, you SHOULD know better. Many, many people don’t know better, of course.

  17. I have a preference for the the term rape tolerance it’s individualistic. Collectivized guilt is a trap.

  18. In our attempt to “protect” women I think we are unintentionally normalising and spreading the myth (please God, let it be a myth) that men are sex-obsessed beasts ruled by their cocks, who don’t much care who they fuck.
    Agreed. And speaking of normalising and spreading myths I think it says something that the first thing people thought of when hearing about this app was “OMG men are going to use it to hurt women!”. Not making possible connections with other people, but hurting women.

    No I don’t think rape culture is about holding up the relatively small portion of men that would engage in this dangerous behavior as represenation of the whole. If you want to talk about that then look up Schroedinger’s Rapist….

  19. I find the back to front thinking in this piece and the comments bizzare. So here is some Light being shed – Yet Again – on “Rape Culture™”.

    The term “Rape Culture” is YET Again being bandied about, without an actual “Operational Definition” of the term being in place.

    That Logical Fallacy has been repeated so many times – and it just keeps on going. It’s called making reality fit the premise – and we see Yet more attempts at “Reification”.

    So there is now an App – and it is being made to fit the definition – the idea – the term?

    Maybe if some even looked at the origins of the Term “Rape Culture™” they may get a shock!?

    “Rape culture is a concept of unknown origin and of uncertain definition; yet it has made its way into everyday vocabulary and is assumed to be commonly understood. The award-winning documentary film Rape Culture made by Margaret Lazarus in 1975 takes credit for first defining the concept. The film’s narration relies heavily on jargon such as “rapism” and “phallocentric society” and is more illustrative than definitive in dealing with rape as depicted in movies, music, and other forms of entertainment.”

    Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology

    Oddly the film called “Rape Culture” focused upon the work of Male Prisoners in Lorton Prison, Virginia – “Prisoners Against Rape Inc” founded 1974, supported by the DC Rape Crisis Centre.

    I have had to ask why has this fact been ignored and brushed away. is it because they were Men – Prisoners – or because all of them were Black? Maybe it is all Three?

    A video extract from the Original 1975 Film is available Here!

    The Opening Credits are Self Explanatory!

    Further details can be found Here!

    The Supposed Proof now being bandied about as to Rape Culture linked to an App is also proof of Poor Grasp of Date Security and Personal Security – there are massive implications relating to the Physical and Personal Security of many, such as The Disabled, The Elderly, People of any sex or gender who live alone – anyone who places personal identifiable data on-line or allow it to be accessed insecurely and without consent or their knowledge.

    And Yet – AGAIN – the big picture gets “Reduced” and “Morphed” into a supposed single issue and Term that after some 37 Years there is no clear Operational Definition for – and which is tainted by Racism, Prejudice and Misandry.

    Call me old fashioned and pernickety, but where I come from building whole concepts and even social movements on such shoddily built and maintained foundations is called “Living In A House Of Cards”!

    It needs too many Jokers to keep the structure up in the air!

    I also object to the racism which has occurred in Air Brushing these Black Male Prisoners out of reality due to Inconvenient truths not being welcomed by some! Any person who does not address the reality is a participant to ongoing racism.

    I also have to wonder at why Rape Culture is such a US centric issue – and why It had literally no Profile or Web Presence until the advent of SlutWalk – 2011. It seems that some are very determined to link two matters for Political and Power reasons, and it all smacks of Media Agendas and Manipulation.

    Why also does the US Government, The United Nations, NGO’s and Literally every Government World Wide refuse to use the Term “Rape Culture”?

    I have asked that question most publicly so many times I have lost count – and yet NOT ONE person has ever attempted to answer that very direct question. Someone somewhere must be capable of answering it – they must have a theory – an idea – a construct that can be scrutinised by reference to Evidence, Sources, Citation…… something that accounts for 37 years of Global Institutional Silence!

    Is it that there is a Global Conspiracy against Women with some weird and sinister mission to cover up Rape Culture and allow Wholesale and Systematic Rape …. or is the Term not used because it is Poorly Referenced, Poorly Understood by people who bandy it about, Poorly constructed and open to abuse by people who can’t even be bothered to do some basic homework via Google?

    As I have said else where on GMP – there seems to be an apparent Cult Of Rape Culture which fits the Hassan B.I.T.E. Model of Cult Thinking and Operation.

    Once a person has invested control of their behaviour, the information they receive, their thinking and their emotional life in the Rape Culture Meme, it becomes a self fulfilling issue and premise. Rape Culture is seen everywhere, and any query raised against the Term and it’s usage is simply used as evidence that Rape Culture is concrete and people who question it are Rape Apologists, MRA, Misogynist, Unreconstructed…. etc, etc, etc.

    It is defended Zealously, and yet it is not defended by evidence but by attack upon anyone who questions or refutes the concept. The defenders are not able to produce even basic sources to explain where the Term Rape Culture has come from, and will even extrapolate from unrelated matters as proof of it’s existence – a factor on Cult Thinking and Behaviour.

    Refutation by attacking the person is a fallacy called Ad Hominum. It is not a valid or rational response, but is in fact a well known element of Cult Behaviour, and displayed so often by Rape Culture devotees as to be past Note Worthy.

    As experts in the field of Sociology Say in the most often used On-line resource for Sociology “Rape culture is a concept of unknown origin and of uncertain definition; yet it has made its way into everyday vocabulary and is assumed to be commonly understood.”

    Are the experts just being lazy, or possibly making valid report?

    It has even been bizzare to see supposed experts and Bloggistas argue for the very existence of Rape Culture and then cite Blackwell Reference as proof of it’s existence and Concrete Reality – and they have even done it here on GMP!

    So before anyone starts citing anything as proof of “Rape Culture”, they really should have the courtesy to all readers of saying just what it is they mean when they type those 12 Characters, and not become party to the Character Assassination of Billions of innocent people.

    … and if some are suddenly vexed over Mobile Technologies and Rape Risk – maybe they should address the repeated silliness of people who leave “Bluetooth” activated on mobile phones and other mobile devices – allowing “Bluesnarfing” which is linked to real time predation and criminality.

    “Bluesnarfing” even allows the criminals to know when you are present and when you are not – and that leads to Burglarization Culture, Mugging Culture, Purse Snatching Culture …. and even Identity Theft Culture, Fraud Culture….. The list is quite extensive!

    “Bluesnarfing” is sex and gender neutral too!

    It does not even discriminate on grounds of race either!

    It’s a pity that so many who bandy the term Rape Culture about with such abandon fail to grasp how they are inadvertently party to long standing racism, something that the people who coined the phrase were so very much against!

    • I’ll be honest, I didn’t get past the fifth paragraph. However, in my original post ( I did include a link to the definition I was using ( As I mentioned earlier, somehow all of the links were stripped when the post was republished here.

      • Lisa Hickey says:

        The links are there now, Ben. Sorry for the technology glitch. Feel free to email me any time if something like that happens again — it’s the best way to get stuff done quickly. lisa at goodmenproject dot com

      • “I’ll be honest, I didn’t get past the fifth paragraph.”?

        Ben – Ironic is not the word! P^)

        If you are linking to Wikipedia as a source, it may be advisable to also read the “talk” section where both the Neutrality of content is in question – as are a number of entries made, and others deliberately omitted, in what is identified as “Advocacy Editing”, Systemic Bias and even Racism!

        Oddly – Wikipedia does require “Valid” citation of sources, and yet there is now an entry under “Prominent incidents and allegations of rape culture – United Kingdom” ( added which provides two citations that do not mention “Rape Culture”. Therefore they should not even be present, and neither should the entry.

        Why let reality and accurate citation get in the way?

        It seems, Yet Again, that some people are very focused upon making reality fit their ideas, even when to do so is against all codes of Conduct and Practice used by Wikipedia.

        That is why Wikipedia is not a valid source of reference, and it is recognised as suffering high levels of Systemic Bias, Conformation Bias – as well as repeated failures by people who change content to abide by basic standards as set out in The Five Pillars – Wikipedia’s Rules on content.

        Maybe you need to look more closely at all publicly available sources and the full implications – especially being made an unwitting party to racism.

        You would have noted that issue if you got past paragraph 5. P^)

        So ignore all citations linked to India, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Borneo, The Continent of Africa … in fact Just Ignore anything that is not US/European English Language focused – unless obliged to do so, such as actually mentioning that the term Rape Culture has once been applied to South Africa by the BBC – with the content removed shortly afterwards in 2009. The BBC were most unhappy that someone had breached Editorial Guidelines and Standards.

        Oddly the South Africa Entry now links events to “War Culture”, and yet that same issue affecting so many people in other countries – Afghanistan, Central Africa-Congo and even Presently In Syria – well it just gets ignored and glossed over!

        Some Just have to maintain that Bias they have and can’t let go of their hold of the subject … and determination to make it fit agendas.

        So the racism of brushing away Black Men in a US prison is glossed over since 1975 – as is the ongoing racism in failing to mention Incidents and events affecting Billions of people outside of The USA and Europe!

        Oddly, so many of those people would not be worried about an App – they don’t have access to services that would put them at risk! P^)

        This Rape Culture Meme and it’s proponents have a lot to answer for!

        … and it’s a pity that you did not address the I.T. security implications as raised … but then again, I only have 30 years experience in the field to draw upon! P^)

        Programming is an art and discipline that does need one to deal with accurate input to provide accurate output!

        G.I.G.O. Good In, Good Out – Garbage In, Garbage Out … and if the underlying processing of information is flawed it does not matter of it is Good Or Garbage in, It’s always Garbage Out!

        I also have 30 years in the fields of Abuse, Rape and Cultural Change, so maybe I do have some insight on the subject as well!

  20. Carl Mode says:

    Where do people get the idea that we as a society fail to address sexual assault. You can’t go a day without seeing a story in the news about sexual assault. Go to any major news websites, and there are stories about sexual assault all over the world.

    We address it constantly, all the time.

    It reminds me when the Sandusky story broke, there were many people to claimed “see, now that boys are being sexually assaulted we are taking notice”. Those people failed to acknowledge that there are 1000s of stories about girls. Sandusky was but one large story, and it was large not because it was boys but because HE was ‘famous’ and at a ‘famous’ school.

  21. Carl Mode says:

    As a lawyer, I can tell you for certain that those that believe that society doesn’t take rape as serious are 100% wrong. In fact, rape (and sexual assault) are the most prosecuted crimes in North America. All too often there is very little evidence to justify the charges that come from an accusation, but the DA will press forward anyway. There is a concept in the law called MENS REI, which in short means ‘a guilty mind’. This concept is all but gone in the area of sexual assault.

    There are those that think we (as a society) fail to address sexual assault , sorry but you couldn’t be more wrong. Judges are trained on how to treat sexual assault victims, how to treat them with ‘kids gloves’, they let in evidence that wouldn’t be allowed in any other crimes, especially ‘hearsay” evidence. IOW, an alleged victims tells her story to a friend and now the friend is allowed to testify as though that person was present when the crime was alleged to have been commited.

    BTW, have a look on the innocence project website, the vast majority of the people who are exonerated were convicted of sexual assault. That isn’t a coincidence, that is because wrongful convictions are very high in NA for sexual assault when compared to other crimes.

    • Interesting Carl.

      In a way that makes sense, at least within my understanding of rape culture. Isn’t it simply an extension and reinforcement of the idea that men are more than likely rapists?

      I think that’s the subtlty that’s often missed: when we normalize the idea of rape we harm women (by potentially increasing the number of rapists) *and* men (by treating them, under the law or otherwise, as if they are rapists).

      When I said earlier that we need to address the sexual violence that does occur, I wasn’t necessarily talking about law enforcement. I was thinking more about how socially, sexual violence is still a taboo subject, which makes it very hard to get a realistic idea about what’s actually happening. For example, we still teach women and kids to beware of strangers, when most studies show the vast majority of abusers are within the victim’s familial or social group.

    • Transhuman says:

      @Carl Mode, I have wondered many times why sexual assault is treated so differently to assault. I don’t deny sexual assault / rape is a crime but why is it worse than being crippled from a beating?

  22. Whilst the app has some scary implications for stalking I have to wonder why it’s automatically assumed someone would use this to rape someone? Why is it straight to the negative?

    WRT rape culture, isn’t it really a violence culture, theft culture, cheating culture and a whole list of other bad experiences that go on and get victim blaming, etc?

  23. “We teach boys that they are dangerous. We joke about men being ruled by their dicks. We normalise and excuse attitudes that are eerily similar to those held by rapists. We unquestionably accept that Girls Around Me will be used by leacherous men to hunt women.
    This is rape culture.”

    No, this is feminism. As I said on Genderratic a while back:

    “Feminists are right – there is a rape culture. They are immersed in it. It defines all interaction between the sexes in terms of rape. It normalises rape, and trivialises it. It uses rape, like Brownmiller says, to consciously keep women in a state of fear. That culture is, of course, feminism itself. As in most cases where feminist ideology doesn’t match reality, it’s only projection. Feminists see rape everywhere, in everything, because to someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

    • As I said in the post, I think the campaign to protect women has a large part to play in rape culture. In a similar way to how the desire to protect children has created helicopter parents and the assumption that every man is a child molester.

      And certainly, large aspects of feminism are concerned with women’s safety, and (I’d hope) smaller aspects like to paint all men as potential rapists.

      However, there’s a lot more to it than that. Sexual violence is a reality, not just a construct of feminism. Feminists may have exacerbated rape culture, but as a well intentioned reaction to a real issue.

      Feminists aren’t the only ones involved either. Far too many men continue to play their part as cocks without brains, and plenty of non-feminist men are quite happy to tell women that they should assume all (presumably other) men are dangerous. The law of unintended consequences is very much in play here.

      Treating every man as a rapist is harmful to all of society, but so is failing to address the sexual violence that does occur.

  24. This ‘app’ makes me uncomfortable. However, I don’t want it banned to “protect” myself. I want it banned because it displays women out like targets on a map in the sweaty palms of some dude. This app is incredibly… creepy. I guarantee you no human being is going to download this app who isn’t a complete moron, and quite frankly, the idea that some moron can track my location is terrifying. That DOES make me into a victim. I’m sorry, but this app IS rape culture.

    • KC Krupp says:

      While the app is called “Girls around me.” It allowed you to scope out all the dudes in your area as well. At least it was kind enough to include both genders!

      On a more serious note, when you think about it the article really presented the app in the nastiest and most perverse way possible. When you really get down to it, the app really doesn’t do anything more than aggregate information that is already out there in the open. It’s just as “creepy” as the guy or girl who carefully times when he/she leaves his/her dorm room at the precise moment that the girl/guy he/she thinks is cute from down the hall leaves to go to class because he/she knows the girl/guy’s class schedule. The “creepy” guy/girl is going to investigate the cute girl/guy on Facebook/Myspace/LinkedIn/Foursquare anyway; Girls Around Me just made his job a little easier and opened up the pool of possibilities.

      Seriously, the data was already available and if the “moron” in question intended to “hunt you down/track you” with nefarious intent in the first place, they were capable of doing it a long time before the app became available. Heck, there were thieves using foursquare to figure out when people would be away from home so they could rob them long before this app came into existance.

      I think the app, while certainly in bad taste, is being blown WAY out of proportion. You should see some of the other ways data is exchanged and available on the interwebz.

      • I mostly agree KC. The app is a bit worse than “just” stalking a cute guy/girl at school though, because it implies that the stalker doesn’t care *who* they stalk, no long as the have the desired gender. That is, it takes the objectification up a notch.

        • KC Krupp says:


          You’re right in that sense. Of course it doesn’t have to be someone at school the guy/girl is following. It could be the guy/girl at the coffee shop every Tuesday, who works at the Target on Thursdays and Fridays, who he/she always sees at the same club on Friday nights, who always catches the same bus home at the same time. You could make a case by saying that since it makes this process easier it is increasing the objectification.

          At the same time we are automatically assuming worst case scenario. The app isn’t necessarily about someone with bad intentions. There was a girl who I had dated briefly. She lived in my neighborhood and she had seen me walk home one time. She wanted to meet me, but was too embarrassed to make the first move to approach me, so she started walking home so that she always passed by my house. This went on for a few weeks before she finally “bumped” into me. It wasn’t until after we started dating that she fessed up and told me the truth. She didn’t have any ill intent or nefarious purposes, she just wanted to get to know me. We’re still very good friends even though we aren’t dating anymore.

          What about the guy/girl who is just interested in meeting someone new and cute. He/she looks who in his/her neighborhood would be interesting, reads up on him/her a little bit and goes, “Yeah this girl/guy is interesting and worth my time to get to know better. Well I know he/she will likely be “here” tonight, I’ll just head over and “bump” into him/her.” The person in question could have perfectly honest intentions.

          Just throwing that out there. 😉

          • I think we’re on the same page. The app is “worse” from within the rape culture mindset because it escalates objectification. But as I think we’ve both said, it’s the assumption of danger that’s the issue.

          • PursuitAce says:

            If she were a guy that would be considered creepy.

      • PursuitAce says:

        Well if that app is creepy, then Google is making billions on the ultimate in creepy…

  25. I had never really thought of ‘rape culture’ as being at all accusatory of men or an attempt to suggest that men are all rapists. For me, as a feminist, that’s never been what it’s about. It doesn’t exclude males as victims, and it doesn’t suggest that all men are dangerous, lurking in the shadows waiting to rape women. It was only here at GMP that I really was introduced to the fact that some people perceived conversations about rape culture thus. I think we need to acknowledge rape culture in order to end rape culture. That doesn’t mean that men are all rapists. It doesn’t mean that women are all helpless victims in need of saving. It simply means that the culture in which we live can be conducive to the violation of bodies, of violating consent, and that we need to work really hard to change this. I think we can acknowledge this dynamic without making men feel as though they’re all being pegged as perpetrators. I do, however, understand that because this is a thorny issue for many men, we perhaps need to be more cautious in how we talk about it. Some feminists might consider my position on that somewhat anti-feminist (tiptoeing around so as not to disturb equilibrium), but I think that it’s simply about respect. If the term doesn’t work for you, if it doesn’t work for thousands of other men, then perhaps we need to think of better ways to talk about and address the issues so that men don’t feel attacked. Whether we like the term or not though, I appreciate that you acknowledge its existence and its insidious nature.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment Jasmine. I’m not sure how I got the wrong impression about “rape culture” – there’s something about it that raises my hackles and that meant, until a few days ago, I’d never even bothered looking at the definition. I’d like to think that kind of willful ignorance is rare for me, but maybe I’ve been fooling myself.

      Regarding tip-toeing: I’m not sure if that’s anti-feminist or not, but from a practical point of view, rape culture is an issue that effects, and can only be overcome, by both men and women. If we can find ways to not trigger knee-jerk rejection in a bunch of people, I think that’s useful.

      That said, now that I understand the term I’m using it more. It’s kind of ironic that for years I’ve been passionate about this issue and always wondered if there was a term that covered it 🙂

    • KC Krupp says:


      Part of the issue that most of the men on here who have an issue with the term “Rape Culture” stems from the fact that it is born out of the feminist patriarchy theory. Personally, I can agree with the concept of rape culture from the stand point of Rape Culture defined as a culture that normalizes rape and results in victim blaming and trivializing of rape. I start to grow wary when it starts approaching the definition of “condoning rape” or is expressed in “sexual objectification.” Where rape culture as a theory loses traction with me is the part where the root cause of rape culture is defined as being the purposeful domination and objectification of women by men.

      Your definition of rape culture, I can agree with: “the culture in which we live can be conducive to the violation of bodies, of violating consent, and that we need to work really hard to change this.” The problem is that that isn’t where the definition of rape culture ends. One of the fundamental building blocks of rape culture theory is that the root cause of rape culture is the domination and objectification of women by men; something done by men in order to control and subjugate women. To which there is so much evidence to the contrary that it is mind boggling that this theory still persists.

      So when you talk about rape culture, Jasmine, yes I can see where you’re coming from, but if you don’t define your version of it for me, I am going to assume you mean the general definition rape culture is spawned from, and that means this isn’t just a case of “be more cautious in how we talk about it;” it is about rejecting the hypothesis as false and replacing it with a more accurate hypothesis that we can continue to test until we eventually come to the most accurate conclusion possible.

    • “I had never really thought of ‘rape culture’ as being at all accusatory of men or an attempt to suggest that men are all rapists. For me, as a feminist, that’s never been what it’s about.”

      That’s quite valid, Jasmine, but quite irelevant. What is relevant is that men experience the term as accusatory and therefore bigoted.

      Something else that is bigoted about the term is the way it is applied – it almost never applies to women’s rapey behavior towrds men. It does not recognize let alone condemn the permission women have in this society to lay hands on men, often directly on the genitals, often right out in public places. It does not recognize drunk sex with men as rape. It is a bigoted term.

    • Well said.

  26. How could a single, relatively little known app prove that a pervasive “culture” exists?

    It can’t. It doesn’t. There really is no such thing as rape culture.

    • If you re-read the post, you’ll see that I didn’t claim that the app proved the existence of rape culture. I said that the reaction of people to the existence of the app opened my eyes. There is no “proof” possible: opinions on culture are non-falsifiable.

      • You chose to use the existence of the app as evidence of a supposed rape culture BY titling it, “How I Started to See the Light on Rape Culture.”

  27. I don't know says:

    Every time I hear a joke about prison rape I know rape culture is real.

  28. I don’t use Facebook because I don’t want any more personal info out than is necessary. First, there is no such thing as “rape culture.” That an objectionable app exists does not mean that a pervasive “culture” exists. That’s an enormous leap.

    Secondly, anyone who puts their location out there knows or should know that others can learn their whereabouts. If they really didn’t want their location out there they wouldn’t put it out there. That is one reason I (and 7 other people on earth) don’t use Facebook.


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